Published Thursday, January 16, 2014 AT 4:38 PM / Updated at 7:03 PM
Ameer Abdullah press conference notes
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

A few quick hits from Ameer Abdullah’s press conference, where the running back explained why he chose to return to Nebraska instead of declaring for the NFL Draft.

>> Abdullah decided on his return Jan. 7, one day after the BCS National Championship game. The reasons haven’t changed from his statement: Abdullah is the youngest of nine siblings, and he wanted to get his degree. He expects to graduate in December, although he could complete it by the end of August. Winning a Big Ten Championship in his senior season at NU is another motivation. Abdullah also wants to improve his overall game, including ball security and pass blocking.

“Off-the-bat, ball security,” Abdullah said. “Me, Imani (Cross) and the other backs are going to find ways on the weekend to just get used to carrying the ball, any situation, high and tight. Finishing my runs, for sure. I watched a little of myself last year and ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ comes up.”

>> Abdullah said the grade he got back from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee was “very high.” He declined specifics beyond the “top half of the Draft.” When asked if he would have returned if he’d been told he’d be a first-round pick, Abdullah paused, smiled and said “It was very high. It was right around that ballpark.”

Former Big Ten running back Montee Ball (Wisconsin)  – the third overall running back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft — was not hurt by his decision to return for a senior year, Abdullah said.

Is there an injury risk in Abdullah returning for his senior season?

“There’s a risk walking down the street — you can get hit by a car,” Abdullah said. “Anything can happen.”

>> He consulted his family in the decision, notably his 36-year-old brother, Muhammad, a lawyer in Birmingham. Muhammad Abdullah advised Ameer to do what was in his heart and consider going back to get his degree. We’ll have more on that conversation tomorrow. Abdullah didn’t get a chance to talk at length with former running back Rex Burkhead.

>> The first two Husker players Abdullah told were senior corner Josh Mitchell and senior wide receiver Kenny Bell. Abdullah said Mitchell and Bell are his best friends on the team. He expects the three of them (and others) to lead next year.

>> The counsel of coach Bo Pelini and running backs coach Ron Brown, Abdullah said, was to “think things through” and not react too strongly either way to the advisory’s projection of his NFL Draft stock.

>> Abdullah said he wasn’t too injured this year. “I rolled my ankle,” Abdullah said. This is perhaps softening the reality of Abdullah’s wear and tear.

More to come later.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.